It was an amazing morning. Somehow it always is. Whether foggy, cloudy, bitter cold, or colorful, there’s always something to appreciate up on the Bluff. Today there was a bank of wispy clouds sweeping northwestward from the east-southeast horizon reflecting color and drawing the eye into the distance.
It’s gotten cold again, these past few days, and the ice is building up on the river. It starts as a thin skin, its reflections all but indistinguishable from the regular surface of the water. Then the skin builds, layer upon layer, growing outward from the banks and shallow areas; every once in a while a chunk will break off and go floating downstream, to lodge and collect against others of their kind. The places where the current runs the most swiftly gain their icy coating last, and are the first areas to thaw.
Ivan – a photography buddy, the one who loaned his Sony to me when the Canon was in for its sensor clean – was driving down Highway 61 with his Dad and brother Vaughn one spring. They had pulled over into one of the scenic overlooks of the Mississippi near Lake City. It was at that time of year where the thick ice starts to soften and break up, sending floes floating downstream; Ivan saw an eagle riding one of those ice floes, and it’s fired his imagination – he wants to someday capture that sight on his camera.
But it’s a rare event, in spite of how many eagles hang out down on the river. It’s a fine thing to have a quest and sense of purpose!
Have you ever heard an eagle’s call, though? They chatter sometimes in the mornings. But the first time a person hears it, it’s hard to believe that the funny voice and the magnificent appearance go hand-in-hand. I have some audio recordings from up on the Bluff, but found a better example on YouTube:
Hear what I mean? They are a gorgeous bird, but there’s no wonder why it is Hollywood substitutes the scream of the red-tailed hawk for the cry of an eagle in the films!
It’s a strange thought, though; they’re down on the ice, walking on the surface, flying above it – playing, in fact. Do you suppose they have their own version of hockey leagues? Who can find the fish through the ice and track it to an open area. Or maybe who rides the air currents the best, who can skim the closest to the ice and not foul wing-feathers on the surface.
Hoping to get better pictures of them before the temperatures rise again and they stop playing on the ice.